Please respect the hygiene measures in the kitchen while you wait to learn more. A resurgence of severe cases of contamination with the bacteria Escherichia coli has caused the deaths of two children in France since the beginning of the year, health authorities announced on Saturday, March 12, who have not yet identified the source of the infection.
As of March 11, 2022, 26 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) “related to bacteria” E coli with similar characteristics have been identified” in children aged 1 to 15 years, and “two children have died”, said Public Health France in a statement. The agency, which announced the first case in late February, will not provide further details about these deaths.
The 26 identified cases “occurred in nine regions of metropolitan France: Nouvelle-Aquitaine (6 cases), Hauts-de-France (5 cases), Ile-de-France (4 suitcases), Pays de la Loire (4 suitcases), Brittany (3 cases), Burgundy-Franche-Comté (1 cases), Grand Est (1 cases), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (1 cases) and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (1 case)”and « 22 additional cases are under investigation”the statement said.
General Risk Prevention Recommendations
Public Health France, the national reference center for Escherichia coli (which is part of the Institut Pasteur), the Directorate-General for Food and the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention, in consultation with the Directorate-General for Health, “Continue the investigation of all pediatric HUS cases reported in the national territory since January 1, 2022 to identify a possible source of common contamination and take appropriate action”such as the withdrawal of any contaminated products from the market, is explained in the press release.
Maize, “at this stage, the epidemiological investigation has not made it possible to blame a particular source of contamination”that’s why “Health authorities are renewing general recommendations for food risk prevention, especially for children under 16”but also in the elderly.
Among these recommendations: hand washing should be systematic before meal preparation; meat, especially ground beef, should be thoroughly cooked and raw milk, cheeses made from raw milk, and dairy products made from raw milk should not be consumed by children under 5 years of age.
The recommendations also concern flour-based preparations (pizza/cookie dough/cake/pie, etc.), which should not be eaten raw or undercooked. Vegetables, salads, fruits, herbs should be washed carefully before consumption; utensils (especially if they have previously been in contact with raw food) and work surfaces should also be thoroughly washed.
In addition, children should not drink untreated water (spring water, torrent, etc.) and the youngest (under 5 years) should avoid contact with cows, calves, sheep, goats, deer, etc. and their surroundings. Hand washing should be done systematically when coming into contact with these animals, recalls Public Health France.
Every year about 160 children are affected by HUS
Finally, raw foods should be kept separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods, and ready-to-eat meals and leftover foods should be quickly refrigerated, reheated and consumed quickly.
In children, HUS is usually caused by an infection with a bacterium belonging to the family of E coliwhich manifests itself between three and ten days after infection by diarrhoea, often accompanied by blood, abdominal pain and sometimes vomiting, which can progress to a severe form after about a week in about 10% of cases.
Every year, about 160 children with HUS are reported to Public Health France, which has set up a monitoring system (pediatric nephrology services) for this disease since 1996.